Coach Paul got to get in quick Q&A with Professional Triathlete, Kyle Leto this weekend.
Hey Kyle! Give us a quick mini bio of who you are, for those that don't know.
I am a professional triathlete from San Jose, CA now living in
Boulder, CO. I focus on non-drafting Olympic and Half-Iron distance
races. Triathlon has presented an opportunity to live my life in a
way that I didn't know was possible. I think that any athlete dreams
of being able to compete at the highest level of a sport. While I
didn't know triathlon existed until about 6 years ago my goal was
never to be a professional triathlete; but, I'm really glad that I
found the sport and am very thankful the life that it has let me
How long have you been a triathlete? What's your background?
I did my first triathlon in 2009. I finished my eligibility for
swimming at UC Davis in 2008 and started doing some triathlon
"training" to stay in shape. A friend convinced me to do a race and
after doing the first one I was hooked. I joined the UC Davis
triathlon team and won Wildflower in 2009. After that I was told that
I was able to race as a professional. I went from not know what a
triathlon was in 2008 to a professional in 2009 so that was a pretty
Do you have a typical weekly schedule? What is it?
A typical week for me is pretty much the same every week. I do all 3
sports almost every day in some capacity. There is usually a focus
each day that we build the schedule around and then a lot of built in
active recovery. Monday is an early swim at 5am, track Tuesday, bike
intervals Wednesday, LONG swim Thursday, tempo run Friday, long ride
Saturday, and a long run Sunday.
When did you turn pro?
I started racing pro in 2009. But I was working full time in the
medical device industry until the beginning of 2012. That is when I
decided that this was my one opportunity to attempt doing triathlon
What's a typical day like for you?
First and most important thing is coffee. I usually have a bowl of
oatmeal before I get into whatever morning session I have and once
I've started the day it is pretty much non stop until I'm done. I've
gotten in a habit of just going from training to training with food in
between. When it's all done I get to be done in the afternoon and I
have plenty of time for a nap and Normatec. I usually end the day
with a homemade dinner (I love to cook) and either a good IPA or some
How do you survive/make an income as a professional triathlete?
As I mentioned before I was working full time and had a really good
job. So I probably don't have the best advice for this but I can
essentially live off of my savings if i need to. However, I've had
some mini victories for me since 2012 and I have been able to break
even each year with just my earnings from triathlon. All of my income
in the sport comes from prize money from races.
What are your goals for the next 3 years?
This is a tough question for me because if you had asked me this 3
years ago I would not have included competing as a full time pro or
living in Boulder in my answer. I honestly could see myself winning a
Rev3 title, a 70.3 world championship, in nursing school, or working
in the medical field somewhere. While I do have goals for the sport I
try to take each day as it is. I am really enjoying the journey of
being a triathlete and I am loving the process.
What are your suggestions for AGers wanting to turn pro?
Don't rush it. I see so many people trying really hard to become a
pro. If it is a challenge to earn your pro card wait until that is
something that you can accomplish without it being a real challenge.
The professional fields now are so deep and talented with very little
prize money that jumping into a pro race will be very overwhelming.
There are a lot of races that are offering an elite amateur wave and I
think this is a great way to gain experience. For one you will be
able to actually race head to head against your competition which is
something you can't really do in the normal age group field. That
dynamic changes the race.
Do you have a coach? Who is it?
My coach is a big reason why I am in Boulder and he is Grant Holicky
of Apex Coaching.
While I have a lot of experience as an athlete I cannot coach myself.
Grant and I have a great working relationship and he is at the
majority of my workouts. The training environment that I have in
Boulder (although I am writing this from my winter training base in
California) has been great.
What do you find is the best training tool you have?
My brothers Netflix account? I spend a lot of time training and it is
really important to recover whenever I can. It is something that I
still struggle with because I like to be on the go all the time. But
to really get the most benefit from a training load you really have to
have some down time and be able to relax. It is a work in progress
Do you use power, HR and if so how?
I use a Stages Power meter on all of my bikes. I use HR when I can
remember to wear my HR strap which isn't that frequent...Sorry Grant.
But I love my Stages Power meters. I transition between my TT bike,
road bike, and mountain bike pretty frequently so it is extremely
valuable to have power on all 3 bikes along with having the same power
meter on all 3.
What's your race day fuel of choice?
Clif Bar. I've been really happy with the new hydration mix that they
came out with last year and I use Clif Bar products pretty much every
day in my training so I am very used to it. Race day fuel is all
about practice. If you don't use it in training it is pretty risky to
start using it in a race.
What's a typical race week prep like for you?
I am still playing with what I think the ideal race prep for me is but
it usually follows a normal week for the beginning with shortened
duration of intensity and volume. The majority of the rest comes in
the Thursday to race day time frame. Thursday is very light. Friday
is usually an off day with travel or a really short easy run to shake
the legs out. Saturday is an hour total with a little of each and
that is about it.
Do you follow a strict diet? Elaborate.
This is another area where I struggle. I love food too much and even
more so beer. I also have had a swimmers diet for the majority of my
life and those traditions are deeply rooted in me. But I eat a pretty
well balanced diet now. I have used one of the great resources around
me in Breeze Brown. She has helped me with coming up with a diverse
nutrition plan that I have been able to adopt. The fact that I love
to cook has made it much easier. I love trying to create new recipes.
Breeze also didn't try to take beer or wine out of my diet so I thank
her for that.
We also had some Outstrip Endurance followers if they had any questions for Kyle. Here they are.
As someone who is a "runner" I want to get into the
world of triathlons..Any first timer pointers? (Staci Meissner)
Most people are really intimidated by the swim; especially people from
a non swimming background. I highly recommend first time triathletes
to practice some open water swims prior to their first race. On race
day you have enough nerves, excitement, and anxiety as it is; you
don't want to take all of that energy into the water with you if you
haven't swum in open water before or aren't comfortable in the water.
Does he miss nursing? (Eney Jones)
I am not a nurse yet. I did work in the cardiac rhythm management
field for a medical device company prior to becoming a full time
triathlete. But nursing is something that I have a great interest in
for my post triathlon career and I plan on starting school when I make
the switch from professional triathlete to age group triathlete.
What made him believe that he could have a successful
career in a tough sport, as opposed to a simple 9-5 job that pays
consistently? (Jordan Overland)
This was one of the hardest decisions that I have had to make in my
life. While I definitely enjoyed the work that I was doing I reached
a point where I was trying to be a professional triathlete, competing
against the best in the world, and I just didn't have the time to
train the way that I wanted to. 2011 was the first year that I
thought I might have a chance at being a successful professional and
it was a chance that I had to take. I didn't want to look back 5
years down the road and ask myself "what if." With this being the
beginning of my 3rd season I can say that I am really glad I made that
Whats his favorite roller coaster? (Robert Wallace)
I can tell you it is not the roller coaster that Paul Duncan and I
went on in the Wisconsin Dells...I actually do really like roller
coasters and my favorite one is probably at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
I believe it was called X or something along those lines. I also
really like Colossus at the same park.
Does he ever drink vodka before a race in transition area
to intimidate his opponents? (Clint Scott)
I can't say that I ever have. I'm not a huge vodka fan anyway; so if
I were to drink something in transition, it would probably be a
Thanks again Kyle for taking the time to answer our questions. You can learn more about Kyle at http://kyleleto.blogspot.com/
Thanks for stopping by...
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Paul Duncan Jr.